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How much choppiness in the hair do you leave?

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  • How much choppiness in the hair do you leave?

    I've noticed some groomers that leave alot, and some where there isn't any noticeable lines at all, just a smooth polished looking dog. Even in a good-quality grooming book I have there are noticeable stray hairs on some close-up pics showing how to do such and such type of foot. Eyebrows have lines as well sometimes.

    I'm new, and I'm trying to learn the trade, I've done a few haircuts but not many and I've spent tons and tons of time trying to the hair just right, polished and meticulous how I think it should look. I have to wonder if I'm wasting my time blending in all these lines when I see so many pictures of dogs where there are noticeable areas where to me, (and my judging eye), it does look scissored.

    So what do you guys think? Am I being too 'Perfect' on this? My goal is to learn to be a top-notch groomer. Or am I just going way above and beyond what everybody else does and wasting time?

    Also, I'm curious as to what you all do with that line where 2 different sections of the grain of the coat point at each other. I shaved my dog the other day and up his chest there is a line like that. The hair stands up and when you pet the dog, you can really feel that hair pointing up, and it's raised higher than the rest of the area, like a little tent. There are other areas like that-he has cowlicks everywhere!!!!! Do you take your scissors and blenders and cut those flat or just leave them?

    Also, I'm having trouble in general with his cowlicks. Does anyone have any tips?

  • #2
    Thinners for cowlicks, or sometimes you can do a blade in reverse depending on the length. Always go two blade lengths up when going in reverse.

    On to the next question. I applaud you for taking the time to be meticulous and thoughtful. I feel like when you learn to groom you should focus on quality before speed. Speed comes later. Your perfectionist ways will ultimately pay off!
    Bulldogs are adorable, with faces like toads that have been sat on.

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    • #3
      I just want to say that everytime I see photos, even of award winning, BIS grooms I see hairs that stick out. You will NEVER get them all. Photos show every single hair. Owners do not see the strays and it is practically impossible to get them all. You will learn to know when "good enough" is "good enough".
      <a href="http://www.groomwise.typepad.com/grooming_smarter" target="_blank">My Blog</a> The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. –Mark Twain

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      • #4
        I am not an award winning groomer, but I pride myself that I do a good pet groom. I try really really hard to make sure the finish on my grooms is smooth and even. If there is choppiness I will go over it with thinning sheers to blend it. But you have to know when to put your scissors down and be happy.

        The biggest thing is going with the grain of the hair growth. I use a clipper vac and so I will generally skim over the hair with a longer blade in reverse and then I finish with the grain with the particular length I want.

        For cowlicks you can use a longer blade against the growth or use thinning shears.
        "The most affectionate creature in the world is a wet dog." -Ambrose Bierce

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        • #5
          Keep doing what you are doing, always striving to do your best on every dog is what will make you a great groomer.

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          • #6
            first and foremost

            If you are serious about styling and scissoring work, and you want to do the best you can, my personal advice is to start with equipment.

            If you have not already done so, you should go to a trade show and get your shears fit to your hand by a professional experienced shear fitter. Now Pam Lauritzen is the origianal developer of said teqnique, and for you what this gets you is a shear that fits closest to your!!!!! hand. Why is this important? because if the shoes don't fit your feet hurt and you walk funny, the same with shears, you chop up the hair because of lack of control and you spend 3 days on 1 dog. Believe it or not start with correct fillting shears, and THE ONLY WAY TO GET THEM is to go to a trade show. Not sure where you are, but there is Intergroom in april, chicago in aug, Dallas in Aug, Hershy, las vegas in sept and on and on, look at the Clalender on this site.
            Also, you can have good finish work on all of your dogs, it takes practice, patience and continuing education at events were you go get it. Without the eyes of someone more experienced than yourself guiding you, it becomes a circle of terrior.

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            • #7
              Parti is right. They're never finished. Go to a dog show sometime and watch the handers. They are constantly nit picking the dogs. They never put away their combs and scissors until the end of the day. At ring side, waiting for their class to be called, they're grooming. Even in the ring, when the judge is looking at another dog, they're grooming. They're never finished.

              One of the hardest things for new (and sometimes older) groomers to learn is when to stop. It takes a while to figure out when good enough is good enough. But you'll get there.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by keyray View Post
                But you have to know when to put your scissors down and be happy.
                that was one of the hardest lessons for me to learn

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by TheyCallMeMom View Post
                  that was one of the hardest lessons for me to learn
                  I am training a groomer right now. She only can do 3 dogs a day (she is just now able to add a fourth). She does such a good job until she is finishing. She can NOT put down the scissors. It's all part of the learning process.

                  Early on I was struggling with a particular dog and I just was never happy. I finally made myself stop and put the dog away. I then noticed while the dog was in the kennel that there was a chunk of hair on the ear almost an inch longer than the rest Shih Tzu). I would NOT let myself clip it, I HAD to be done. Six weeks later the hair was still there and I trimmed it while laughing.
                  "The most affectionate creature in the world is a wet dog." -Ambrose Bierce

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                  • #10
                    I think you are talking about back brushing. I was taught to always back brush an area 3 times and shave in the direction of growth. This gets me the best results on all hair except drop coats. It doesnt work well for those kinds of coats, but any double coat for sure. So try brushing the hair against the growth and shave it with the growth, brush against the growth again and clipper the same spot again and then one last time and nothing more should be come off at that point. And remember you will ALWAYS find more sticky outies. You have to come to a stopping point eventually! lol

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                    • #11
                      It depends. I make sure that my outlines are neat and clean, like around the feet, ears, underside, etc.
                      When it comes to clipping, I do not scissor over snap on's on body and legs, feet only unless the dog has poodle coat. I like soft fuzzy look and I finish my faces with thinning shears as well. I comb and make sure there is no long sticky outies left afterwards. I go over the dog several times, comb them and spritz the coat with Crown Royal it really helps with making even finish.
                      Said that I try not to leave chop marks left by dragging the blage over the coat. On double coated dogs I remove them with stripping knife or Furminator on others with thinning shears or simply by going over the area with same blade slowly.

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                      • #12
                        Me too! I had a tendency towards being meticulous and fretting over every little hair. I've found that if I stop about 30 minutes early. Put the dog in the kennel, then re-visit... I'll truly see what is sticking out.

                        Also... Right after grooming, I'll put dog on the floor (the owner's view) and let him/her walk around so the "natural fall" occurs and you can see what is going to be troublesome. (90 percent of dogs that I put on the floor to walk around do a "shake" so it's even better!) I always see a few interesting snips from the top down but when I pick them up and put them back on the table, I don't comb again and just do a few quick flyaway snips.

                        That last 15 minutes of grooming? Only *you* notice. 15 minutes per dog saved x even 4 dogs equal an extra hour!

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                        • #13
                          Thanks so much you guys!!!

                          That was alot of tips you all gave me! Thank you! Lots of stuff to do differently

                          And yes, there is a dog show coming up so I'll be able to get some properly fitting shears. Can't wait. Thanks alot.

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                          • #14
                            I'm a hand-scissoring junkie & I know what you mean by the choppiness. However the academy I was at really drilled on scissoring techniques so whenever I see choppiness it's like hearing a wrong note in music.

                            I'm glad there are ppl here that say quality first, speed comes later. I just started working part time & the ppl keep telling me I'm too slow. I don't disagree but I don't like to rush if I can't produce a satisfactory finish.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Mango View Post
                              I just started working part time & the ppl keep telling me I'm too slow. I don't disagree but I don't like to rush if I can't produce a satisfactory finish.
                              But you do have to know when to say ENOUGH and "It's good enough". there was a class one time by a huge name in the industry that said "All the owner really cares about is a clean dog with a cute face, clipped toenails and a CLEAN [email protected]@". He is correct btw, in most cases (there are a few that are pickier and those that DO see it, but overall) as I can say the dog looks rough to me, and try and try and the owner is like, WHAT are you talking about??????? she looks great! because all she is seeing is the cute face, trimmed nails and clean butt.
                              <a href="http://www.groomwise.typepad.com/grooming_smarter" target="_blank">My Blog</a> The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. –Mark Twain

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